Portrait of Charles Townshend

Charles, second Viscount Townshend (1674-1738)
Isaac Whood, after Godfrey Kneller, 1740

Townshend had his portrait painted at least twice by the society portraitist Godfrey Kneller, once as a very young man as part of Kneller’s series of Kit-Cat club portraits. Townshend was a Cambridge man, studying at King’s College, and was Secretary of State to George I from 1721 to 1730. He remains most famous as ‘Turnip Townshend’, for his popularising of the Norfolk four-field rotation system of turnips, barley, clover and wheat crops, enabling greater efficiency in the use of fields and the support of a rapidly growing population.

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